Penrice, Mercer and Kessler win Mark of Excellence awards

Monday, June 12, 2017 - 12:30pm

Three students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications have won 2016 Mark of Excellence awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards honor the best in student journalism in six categories: newspapers, magazine, art/graphics, radio, television and online.

Zach Penrice, a junior journalism student, was designated as a national winner in the radio sports reporting category for his work “Nebraska Football – Senior Day & the 29th Senior.”

Marcella Mercer and Calla Kessler, both senior journalism students, were designated as national winners in the feature writing (large school, 10,000+ students) category for their story “Whiteclay, caring for kids with fetal alcohol disorders.” Mercer completed the reporting and writing and Kessler took the photos for the story.

Barney McCoy, associate professor who worked with Penrice, said many students compete in the SPJ competition each year and it gives them a unique opportunity to measure their skills against their peers.

“The biggest thing students learn from this competition is where they’re at on their own road maps to career opportunities,” McCoy said. “To be acknowledged by SPJ judges builds our students’ confidence in their skills as journalists. It shows them the possibilities that come through recognized success.”

Entries to the SPJ Mark of Excellence competition are first judged at a regional level and the winners move on to compete at the national level. The national winners will be acknowledged Sept. 8 during the Excellence in Journalism 2017 conference in Anaheim, California.

SPJ Mark of Excellence
SPJ Mark of Excellence